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Top 30 Roles for Strong Leading Females (Part 2)

Top 30 Roles for Strong Leading Females (Part 2)

For years, the rise and empowerment of women has been gradual but fierce! This empowerment is reflected on stage through the many female characters we find in theatre.

We’ve compiled a list of over 30 plays with some of the strongest leading female characters. Some of these women are comforting mothers and daughters, while others are rebellious forces for nature, but all of these characters reveal the moments of beauty, power, and strength that come with womanhood. Grab a copy and join these women as they explore themselves, the world around them, and the many challenges that women have faced throughout history. Check out Part 2 below!

Lydia by Octavio Solis
Set in the 1970s on the Texas border separating the United States and Mexico, Lydia is an intense, lyrical, and magical new play. The Flores family welcomes Lydia, an undocumented maid, into their El Paso home to care for their daughter Ceci, who was tragically disabled in a car accident on the eve of her quinceañera, her fifteenth birthday. Lydia's immediate and seemingly miraculous bond with the girl sets the entire family on a mysterious and shocking journey of discovery. Lydia is an unflinching and deeply emotional portrait of a Mexican immigrant family caught in a web of dark secrets. 4m, 3f

In the Next Room, or the vibrator play by Sarah Ruhl
A comedy about marriage, intimacy, and electricity. Set in the 1880s at the dawn of the age of electricity and based on the bizarre historical fact that doctors used vibrators to treat 'hysterical' women (and some men), the play centers on Dr. Givings and his wife and how his new therapy affects their entire household. When a new "hysterical" patient and her husband bring a wet nurse and their own complicated relationship into the doctor's home, Dr. and Mrs. Givings must examine the nature of their own marriage, and what it truly means to love someone. 3m, 4f

Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi
In this contemporary take on the young queen of France, Marie is a confection created by a society that values extravagance and artifice. But France’s love affair with the royals sours as revolution brews, and for Marie, the political suddenly becomes very personal. From the light and breezy banter at the palace to the surging chants of "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!" in the streets, Marie Antoinette holds a mirror up to our contemporary society that might just be entertaining itself to death. 6m, 3f, 1boy(s)

Grounded by George Brant
From the award-winning playwright of Elephant's Graveyard, George Brant, comes the story of an ace fighter pilot whose career in the sky is ended early due to an unexpected pregnancy. Reassigned to operate military drones from a windowless trailer outside Las Vegas, she hunts terrorists by day and returns to her family each night. As the pressure to track a high-profile target mounts, the boundaries begin to blur between the desert in which she lives and the one she patrols half a world away. 1f

4000 Miles by Amy Herzog
After suffering a major loss while he was on a cross-country bike trip, 21 year-old Leo seeks solace from his feisty 91 year-old grandmother Vera in her West Village apartment. Over the course of a single month, these unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder, and ultimately reach each other. This story looks at how two outsiders find their way in today's world. 1m, 3f

Agnes of God by John Pielmeier
Summoned to a convent, Dr. Martha Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, is charged with assessing the sanity of a novice accused of murdering her newborn. Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior, determinedly keeps young Agnes from the doctor, arousing Livingstone's suspicions further. Who killed the infant and who fathered the tiny victim? Livingstone's questions force all three women to re-examine the meaning of faith and the power of love leading to a dramatic, compelling climax. 3f

Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon
The night after their grandfather's funeral, three cousins engage in a verbal (and sometimes physical) battle. In one corner is Daphna Feygenbam, a "Real Jew" who is volatile, self-assure and unbending. In the other is her equally stubborn cousin Liam, a secular and entitled young man, who has his shiska girlfriend, Melody, in tow. Stuck in the middle is Liam's brother, Jonah, who tries to stay out of the fray. When Liam stakes claim to their grandfather's Chai necklace, a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues. 2m, 2f

Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon
Paul and Corie Bratter are newlyweds in every sense of the word. He's a straight-as-an-arrow lawyer and she's a free spirit always looking for the latest kick. Their new apartment is her most recent find – too expensive with bad plumbing and in need of a paint job. After a six day honeymoon, they get a surprise visit from Corie's loopy mother and decide to play matchmaker during a dinner with their neighbor-in-the-attic Velasco, where everything that can go wrong, does. Paul just doesn't understand Corie, as she sees it. He's too staid, too boring and she just wants him to be a little more spontaneous. Running "barefoot in the park" would be a start... 4m, 2f

Lost in Yonkers by Neil Simon
This memory play is set in a Yonkers in 1942. Bella is 35-years-old, mentally challenged and living at home with her mother, stern Grandma Kurnitz. As the play opens, ne'r do-well son Eddie deposits his two young sons on the old lady's doorstep. He is financially strapped and taking to the road as a salesman. The boys are left to contend with Grandma, with Bella and her secret romance, and with Louie, her brother, a small-time hoodlum in a strange new world called Yonkers. 4m, 3f

Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl
An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man—with a lot of loose ends. A work about how we memorialize the dead—and how that remembering changes us. This is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. 2m, 4f

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
Sarah Ruhl reimagines the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine. After dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. With contemporary characters, ingenious plot twists, and breathtaking visual effects, the play is a fresh look at a timeless love story. 5m, 2f

A Feminine Ending by Sarah Treem
Having recently graduated from a major conservatory, and with a rocker boyfriend on the brink of stardom, aspiring composer Amanda Blue’s “extraordinary life” seems to be all mapped out.  But when she’s called home to answer her mother’s distress call about a marriage in crisis, Amanda’s grand plan starts to unravel. It’s a bittersweet new play about dreams deferred, loves lost and learning to trust a woman's voice in a man's world. 3m, 2f

The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder
Horace Vandergelder, a wealthy merchant in 19th Century Yonkers, NY, decides to take a wife and employs a matchmaker, Mrs. Dolly Levi.  Dolly subsequently becomes involved with two of Vandergelder's clerks, several lovely ladies, and the headwaiter at an expensive restaurant where this swift farce runs headlong into hilarious complications. After everyone gets straightened out romantically, Vandergelder finds himself affianced to the astute Dolly Levi herself. 9m, 7f

The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
This classic tells the story of Annie Sullivan and her student, blind and mute Helen Keller, dramatizing the volatile relationship between the lonely teacher and her charge. Trapped in a secret, silent world, unable to communicate, Helen is violent, spoiled, almost sub-human and treated by her family as such. Only Annie realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark, tortured silence. With scenes of intense physical and emotional dynamism, Annie's success with Helen finally comes with the utterance of a single, glorious word: "water". 7m 7f

A Piece of My Heart by Shirley Lauro
This is a powerful, true drama of six women who went to Vietnam: five nurses and a country western singer booked by an unscrupulous agent to entertain the troops. The play portrays each young woman before, during, and after her tour in the war-torn nation and ends as each leaves a personal token at the memorial wall in Washington. It has recently been named "The most enduring play on Vietnam in the nation," by The Vietnam Vets Association. 1m, 6f

HONORABLE MENTIONS

A Small Fire by Adam Bock
Adam Bock's meticulously crafted drama follows John and Emily Bridges, a long-married couple whose happy, middle-class lives are upended when Emily falls victim to a mysterious disease. As her senses are slowly stripped away – smell, taste, sight – Emily resolves to remain engaged with her community, relying on John to help her run her company and experience her daughter Jenny's wedding. But her stoic outlook reaches a breaking point when the disease steals her hearing, leaving her with nothing but touch to communicate with the world. Suddenly, she is completely dependent on the husband whose endless devotions she had always taken for granted. 2m, 2f

You Got Older by Clare Barron
Mae returns home to help take care of Dad and along the way, embarks on an exploration of her own life in the world of adulthood and of the trepidations of life itself. This play is a tender and darkly comic new play about family, illness, and cowboys — and how to remain standing when everything you know comes crashing down around you. 4m, 3f

Charles Ives Take Me Home by Jessica Dickey
A father’s love of music and a daughter’s passion for basketball are at odds, thankfully they have modernist composer Charles Ives playing referee. Dissonance, defense, and devotion are explored in this poignant and comedic story. 2m 1f

Spirituality in GEM OF THE OCEAN

Spirituality in GEM OF THE OCEAN

Top 30 Roles for Strong Leading Females (Part 1)

Top 30 Roles for Strong Leading Females (Part 1)